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BEFORE YOU ARRIVE

WORLD CLASS. REFINED. GLOBAL.

Congratulations on your admission to USC International Academy! Here are
some things you can do to ensure your arrival is as smooth as possible:
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BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
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CHECKLIST
  • Prepare your immigration, health, and academic documents
  • Arrange transportation from the airport to USC
  • Know what to expect at Orientation
  • Plan how you will convert and manage your money
  • Secure your housing arrangements
  • Pay your program fees
  • Download the USC International Academy Pre-Arrival Guide
VISA & IMMIGRATION

The admission packet you received in the mail includes your letter of admission, pre-arrival information, and a Form I-20. You will need these documents to apply for your student visa. Applying for a Student Visa & more >>

HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

All new students will be required to receive 2 doses of the MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine and T-Spot test unless proof of immunity is provided. How to Waive USC’s Health Requirement & more >>

AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION

We are pleased to arrange your transportation from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to your residence in Los Angeles. Sign Up for Free Airport Pick-Up >>

ORIENTATION

On the first and second day of the program we will provide orientation to help you understand the program and the university, and administer an English placement exam. Orientation Details >>

MONEY AND BANKING
There are several banking options near campus. It is important to research each banking institution to see which one fits best with your financial needs. Setting Up a Bank Account >>
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VISA AND IMMIGRATION
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GENERAL VISA APPLICATION PROCESS
  • Submit a complete application to USC International Academy. If you are admitted, you will need to declare your intent to enroll and pay the tuition deposit. You will receive a Form I-20 by mail after confirming your admission.
  • Verify that all information in I-20 is correct and sign page 1.
  • Schedule a visa interview for a student visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your country of permanent residence.
  • Pay the I-901 (SEVIS) fee.
  • Check your U.S. Embassy website for more information on which documents to prepare for visa interview.
  • Allow 1-2 weeks for processing after visa interview.
VERIFYING YOUR FORM I-20

USC International Academy will send you a Form I-20 (the Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant [F-1] Student Status) approximately 7-10 business days after confirming your admission and paying the tuition deposit.

When you receive the I-20, please verify that the following information is correct:

  • Name
  • Birth date
  • Country of birth
  • Country of citizenship

If you find a mistake, mark it and notify USC International Academy immediately as you will need the error corrected. We will correct the mistake and send the corrected I-20 to you by express mail.

If the information is correct, read the information on page 2, then sign the I-20 in the space that is provided on page

APPLYING FOR A STUDENT VISA

Applicants for student visas should apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their country of permanent residence.

For further information about how to apply for a visa, please check the website of your nearest United States Consulate or Embassy.

Related Links
Visa Wait Time – average wait time at your local embassy
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – latest rules and regulations for those traveling to the U.S.
EducationUSA – visa information
U.S. Department of State – information about student visas

BEFORE THE VISA INTERVIEW
  • Pay I-901 Fee
    After scheduling your visa interview, you will need to pay the I-901 Fee (also known as the SEVIS Fee). You will need to pay the $200 fee online at i901fee.

You must print the I-901 Fee Confirmation (receipt) and bring it with you to the visa interview.

  • Prepare Required Documentation
    Each applicant for a student visa must bring the following to show the interviewer:
  • An application Form DS-160, completed and signed.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application.
  • One photograph 5cm x 5cm (2 in x 2 in) for each applicant, showing full face, without head covering, against a light background.
  • Form I-20 provided by the USC International Academy
  • Evidence of sufficient funds to cover all expenses, also known as financial documentation
  • I-901 Fee Confirmation (receipt)
  • Along with the documents above you may also be asked to provide:
  • Your reason for studying English as well as your study plans while in the U.S.A.
  • Transcripts and diplomas from previous institutions attended (usually for the most recent 3 years)
  • Your resume/CV
  • Scores from standardized tests required by the educational institution such as the TOEFL, SAT, GRE, GMAT, etc.
  • Financial evidence that shows you or your sponsor has sufficient funds to cover your tuition and living expenses during the period of your intended study. For example, if you or your sponsor is a salaried employee, please bring income tax documents and original bank books and/or statements. If you or your sponsor own a business, please bring business registration, licenses, etc., and tax documents, as well as original bank books and/or statements.
APPLICANTS BRINGING DEPENDENTS (SPOUSE AND/OR CHILDREN)

You will need to apply for an F-2 visa for any dependents who will stay in the U.S. with you. If any dependent plans to study full-time, they will also need to apply for an F-1 visa (full-time study on an F-2 visa is not possible).

When applying for an F-2 visa, the student should show:

  • Proof of the student’s relationship to his/her spouse and/or children (e.g. marriage and birth certificates.)
  • It is preferred that families apply for F-1 and F-2 visas at the same time, but if the spouse and children must apply separately at a later time, they should bring a copy of the student visa holder’s passport and visa, along with all other required documents.
WORKING AS AN F-1 STUDENT

USC International Academy students are not permitted to work on campus. Students do have the option to volunteer at various organizations around Los Angeles. Once a student has been fully admitted to a degree program at USC they are permitted to work part-time on campus.

For further inquiries, please contact the Immigration and Admission Advisor at info-international@usc.edu.

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HEALTH & IMMUNIZATIONS
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REQUIREMENTS

The University of Southern California requires ALL students receive:

  • Two doses of MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccine or show proof of immunity
AND
  • Tuberculosis screening in the United States or Canada within six prior to your enrollment at USC International Academy
WAIVING HEALTH REQUIREMENTS

All new students will be required to receive 2 doses of the MMR vaccine and T-Spot test unless the following documentation is provided:

  • Proof of Two Doses of MMR Vaccine
    All students who have documentation from a doctor or hospital showing that they had AT LEAST two (2) MMR injections should bring these documents with them to Los Angeles.
  • Laboratory Report of Negative T-Spot (Tuberculosis) Blood Test
    If you have had a T-Spot Test or a PPD skin test in the last six months that was administered in the U.S. or Canada, please bring a photocopy of the laboratory report (from a doctor) with you to International Academy (no x-rays please).
HEALTH WORKSHOP

New students are required to attend a Health Workshop at the USC Engemann Student Health Center during Orientation.

What to Expect:

  • Overview about the facilities and medical services offered
  • Personalized immunization schedule based on health documents you submitted
  • Depending on your immunization schedule, you may have a blood test and MMR vaccine administered by USC nurses for a small fee

You will fill out health forms and consult with a USC nurse before receiving an immunization and blood test. Please let the nurse know if you are pregnant, sick, or have a preexisting condition that prevents you from getting the measles vaccination.

MEDICAL INSURANCE

All USC students must have major medical health insurance. The Academy provides a high quality medical insurance policy and access to the USC Student Health Center as part of the required student University Service Fee. This policy covers students while they are participating in the program.

As with all medical insurance policies, some restrictions apply. For policy details, click here.

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AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION
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ARRIVING

We recommend you arrive at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) which is approximately 25 km (15.5 miles) from USC. Driving time from LAX to USC may take from 20-40 minutes.

Be sure to check with your airline for rules and regulations about baggage, limits and fees. You may also want to check with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for the latest travel information.

AIRPORT SHUTTLE SERVICE

No need to worry about getting from the airport to your residence in Los Angeles—we can take care of it for you!

How to Sign Up for FREE Transport from the Airport:

  • Complete the Airport Shuttle Request Form (it will be sent to you with your Program Confirmation)
  • Email the completed form to the Academy at one week before your arrival: info-international@usc.edu

Remember:

  • You do not need to pay for this service.
  • Shuttle drivers do not meet you at the gate at the airport. You will need to go to claim your baggage and exit the ramp into the arrival waiting area. Then exit the terminal and look for a large sign on the center sidewalk that says “PRIME TIME SHUTTLE”. There may be an employee there to tell the driver that you have arrived. If the agent is not there, take a seat on the bench and a shuttle will be there soon.
  • You will need to give the driver the instructions and confirmation number that the Academy sends you.
  • If you are not able to email your arrival form to the Academy at least one week before your arrival, please make your own shuttle arrangements (read below for more information on this).
ARRANGING YOUR OWN AIRPORT TRANSPORTATION

You can make your arrangements to take a taxi, shuttle or town car to USC or another Los Angeles location (hotel, apartment, etc.) any time. You can make a reservation online or by phone before you arrive or arrange service once you are at the airport.

Taxi

  • ~ $45+ depending on traffic
  • You will need to pay the driver directly for this service and should include $1-5 tip.

Shuttle Van
Make Your Shuttle Reservation Using this Link and Receive a 10% Discount

  • ~$15-20 one way to USC
  • Pay the driver directly for this service and include $2-3 tip
  • You should not have to wait more than 20 minutes for your shuttle, even without a reservation
  • Expect to handle your own luggage after the driver drops you off
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ORIENTATION
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ORIENTATION

On the first and second day of the program we will provide orientation to help you understand the program and the university, and administer an English placement exam. The following topics will be covered:

  • Housing
  • Identification cards
  • Health insurance
  • Safety issues
  • Registration
  • Elective course selection
  • Class schedule
  • Navigating the campus
WHAT TO BRING
  • Official transcripts (for students in all programs except for Intensive English)
  • Passport, visa, USC I-20, or other immigration documents
  • Copies of your immunization history
  • Your checkbook, travelers checks, credit card or guarantee letter from your sponsor (if you need to pay the program fees)
  • Pen and pencil
PASSPORT VERIFICATION (PPV)

All students are required to complete Passport Verification (PPV) with USC International Academy to ensure that you are eligible to start an academic program at USC.

In order to complete this procedure, please make copies of the following items after entering the U.S., and turn them in to the Academy’s Immigration and Admissions Advisor by the end of the first day of Orientation:

  • The data page of your passport
  • U.S. Visa
  • Front page of your USC I-20
  • I-94 Form (Please open and fill out after you enter the United States)

Copies can be made at the FedEx Office located on the third floor of the USC Bookstore. If you live off-campus, there are FedEx Offices conveniently located throughout Los Angeles. You can search for the FedEx Office nearest you by clicking here.

ENGLISH PLACEMENT EXAM

On the program start date, you will be given an English Placement Examination to determine your academic level in the program. TOEFL/IELTS scores are not used for placement purposes.

The exam consists of:

  • Timed, written essay
  • Multiple choice test of listening, reading, grammar and vocabulary

Students will learn their level and class schedule at the completion of orientation.

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MONEY & BANKING
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MONEY

There is a place to change your money at the Los Angeles International Airport in the Bradley International Terminal. After leaving the airport, changing money is not easy. We advise that you bring $200 cash ($20 bills or smaller) with you from your country.

It is not a good idea to carry large amounts of cash. Please do not bring cash to pay for your program fee or housing. Instead of cash, bring travelers checks and/or a charge card (Visa or MasterCard).

BANKING

Chase Bank is located on the Jefferson Boulevard across the street from the Academy’s building. Most students use Chase Bank since there are many branch offices all over California and throughout the U.S., however there are many other banks in the area. The USC Credit Union is a bank with two branches and eight ATMs right on the university campus.

To open an account at Bank of America you need:

  • Passport
  • Documents that prove you are currently enrolled (for example, I-20, Student ID, registration fee payment receipt, or admission letter.)
  • Minimum amount to open an account is $100

To open an account at the USC Credit Union you need:

  • Passport
  • Documents that prove you are currently enrolled (for example, I-20, Student ID, or admission letter)
  • $11 to open account
  • $1 Minimum Balance
AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINES (ATM)

ATM cards are common in the U.S. You can apply for an ATM card when you open your account. An ATM card allows you to withdraw and deposit money, transfer funds between accounts and check your account balance. ATM machines can be found at banks, shopping centers, some supermarkets and on the USC campus. Some businesses now allow customers to use their ATM cards to pay for purchases (most often at gasoline stations and supermarkets). When using ATM machines, be sure to follow necessary security precautions to guard against theft.